Our American Family - new family history themed TV series now on Amazon Prime

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15 November 2017
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Our-American-Family-The-Youngs-07670.jpg Our American Family - new Amazon Prime series
Our American Family is a new documentary series which seeks to document American family heritage, whilst encouraging viewers to explore their own roots.

Our American Family is a new documentary series which seeks to document American family heritage, whilst encouraging viewers to explore their own roots.

Episode one, Our American Family: The Youngs, profiles Darwyn Young, his wife Pauline and their eight children who labored as tenant farmers while nurturing a dream of one day owning their own land. The documentary chronicles their family journey, where reliance upon one another and their faith were the glue that held the family together through the extreme hardships of the Depression and the Great War.

Producer Steve Young spoke about what it was like to have his own family featured: 'They loved it, but I must admit I am biased since they are my family (laughs). When I set out with a very talented filmmaker to document my dad’s family story, we had no idea that our work would lead to a series on public television and now Amazon Prime.

'My family’s positive reaction was understandable – seeing our family story depicted in this way is a powerful thing – but it was the reaction of those who didn’t know our family that told us we were on to something – that our family story had struck a chord. It turned out that Our American Family: The Youngs was like holding up a mirror to the viewer. This same reaction has taken place with each family story we have featured.'

Inspired to preserve family memories?

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He has the following advice for anyone inspired to document their own family stories: 'First and foremost, do not wait! Time is of the essence. However, paradoxically, it is also never too late to start. I chose to document my family’s story because we had lost my Grandmother Young – the keeper of the family lore – before anyone had written anything down. That huge missed opportunity was the inspiration to begin.

'Develop a set of common questions to ask all family members who grew up during the period of history you wish to document, and ask those members to tell the stories of those who came before who are not able to speak for themselves.

'Multiple perspectives on a common set of questions build a rich “three-dimensional” narrative. We gather everyone at one location and ask family members to bring their old photos and memorabilia. (If old photos have not yet been digitized, do so immediately.)

'You will find that this will be a very special time and stories will come out that have never before been told. The method you use  – print, audio or video – is not as important as is committing to get your family’s story documented for future generations. You will have something that is both priceless and grounding, particularly in this fast-paced, chaotic time in which we now live.'

Click here to view any or all of the episodes and to get a free trial of Amazon Prime.